First published by Scribner’s in April 1925, The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald received mixed reviews and sold poorly; in its first year, the book sold only 20,000 copies.
Fitzgerald died in 1940, believing himself to be a failure and his work forgotten.
However, the novel experienced a revival during World War II, and became a part of American high school curricula. It is now widely considered to be a literary classic and a contender for the title “Great American Novel.”
The cover of the first printing of The Great Gatsby is among the most celebrated pieces of art in American literature. A little-known artist named Francis Cugat was commissioned to illustrate the book while Fitzgerald was in the midst of writing it.
The cover was completed before the novel; Fitzgerald was so enamored with it that he told his publisher he had “written it into” the novel.
Fitzgerald’s remarks about incorporating the painting into the novel led to the interpretation that the eyes are reminiscent of those of fictional optometrist Dr. T. J. Eckleburg (depicted on a faded commercial billboard near George Wilson’s auto repair shop) which Fitzgerald described as “blue and gigantic – their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose.”
Although this passage has some resemblance to the painting, a closer explanation can be found in the description of Daisy Buchanan as the “girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs.”
The 1926 American silent drama film directed by Herbert Brenon was the first of many film and stage adaptations of the novel.
Warner Baxter played Jay Gatsby and Lois Wilson was Daisy Buchanan.
The film was produced by Famous Players-Lasky, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Unfortunately this version of The Great Gatsby is now considered lost.
In the 1949 film of The Great Gatsby, Alan Ladd played Jay Gatsby and Betty Field was Daisy Buchanan.
The 1974 film had Robert Redford as Jay and Mia Farrow as Daisy.
And the 2013 version starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay and Carey Mulligan as Daisy.
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